Gainesville, FL

By the way, the bed at the Cadillac Motel was super comfortable. The first firm bed on this trip, other than the ground.

In a break from my usual routine, I packed up everything and went to church on a fully loaded bike. There were two churches relatively nearby – a Baptist and Methodist. I had not been to a Methodist one yet on this trip, so went to that one. Mt. Carmel Methodist had Sunday School at 9:45, and worship at 11.

Mt. Carmel Methodist Church
After service.
Terrence
This is Terrence, who led the morning adult Sunday School. It was on Jeremiah, feeling that he was inadequate for the task the Lord had intended for him. I think Terrence may also lead the music. By the way, I’m just going phonetically on these names, so if I’ve spelled something wrong, somebody please correct me.

As with all the other churches I visited, no one was concerned with something as superficial as my attire. No one even blinked that I had a T-shirt and bike shorts on, even though most were dressed semi-formal. I will also add that on this entire trip, no one at a predominantly white church noticed that I was not white, and no one at a predominantly black church noticed that I was not black. Simply not an issue. Having never been to the South, before this journey, in my ignorance I thought it might be. Nope. We’re basically just Christians trying to do the best we can.

May and Pastor Morris
May (L) was on the same pew as me, and really got into the service. In this church, when they agree with something, they come right out and say it out loud. Pastor Morris (R) delivered a dynamic sermon.
Ronald and Minnie
Ron (L) was in the morning Sunday school before worship. He was in the army before, and did 100-mile hikes. That’s like a 1000-mile bike trip. Minnie (R) kind of reminded me of my grandmother, when I was little.
Cassandra Davis
This is fellow cyclist Cassandra. She does 35-40 mile trail rides regularly on the local Gainesville trails. She was the pianist for the church, but every 3rd Sunday of the month, she played at another church, so she left before I could chat with her. Well, later when I had left for lunch, someone told her, and she actually drove out to look for me, finally catching up with me at Subway. She could absolutely make the kind of trip I’m doing now, except has other commitments presently.
In the same Subway parking lot, I met Paul, who told me that High Springs was awarded “Friendliest Town in Florida.” I don’t doubt it. He was trying to get a free entertainment center into his car, but it wouldn’t fit. He yielded it to another woman who was interested in it. Just as well, at 76, he probably has a lot of stuff already – no sense vexing his wife with something new.

I thought it was a short run of just about 18 miles into Gainesville, which was why I rode over on a rest day. It was crazy hot on the way over, because a tailwind was matching my speed, and the humidity was oppressive. But then, the clouds rolled in, and cool breezes. A thunderstorm was coming.

Black Vulture
I wondered what this bird was earlier on the trip, until today, I saw it pecking at a dead armadillo.
Publix
Upon reaching Gainesville, I went into a Publix supermarket. This was another chain market that I had never visited, before. Got cash back to refill my supply. And a $4 bowl of cut watermelon. It’s pricey, but good. What they do here is get seeded watermelon, cut it up, and remove the seeds. It’s much sweeter and crisper than the seedless kind.
Google bike directions fail again
Google bike directions wanted me to go here. I’d like to tell their mapping where to go. Not only did it route me over streets under construction, it got me lost in the University on unnamed bike paths. I reverted to looking at ordinary streets, and finally make it to the Zen Hostel. Tip: in Gainesville, 2nd St does not connect to SW 2nd St.
Outside Zen Hostel
There’s a book exchange right outside. I think that man on the porch of the green building is Armando, the host.
zen hostel courtyard
This is the inner courtyard of the Zen Hostel.
Matthew
There were just two of us in the shared room with 4 beds. The shared room was air-conditioned, and had internet and abundant power strips. This is my roommate, Matthew. He’s collecting gear and doing research in preparation for a hike from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon, 3 weeks from now. He has MS, so wants to do the hike while he still can. He’s exactly the same age as me, but has more tech – a solar charger, and a smart phone to watch videos on.
Downtown Gainesville
The Old Town was just a block from the hostel. I only saw a little of it, but there were restaurants everywhere. School is out, but I imagine that when the regular term is in session at the University, these streets are packed.
Salmon Burger at Relish
Just had a salmon burger at this place called Relish. It’s like Smashburger – lots of toppings available.

I have my flight back booked for Saturday. Goal for tomorrow is Palatka. Might be too ambitious. Thunderstorms expected.

Miles: 31.2

(Visited 10 times, 1 visit(s) today)

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